13 Common Ariens Zero-Turn Mower Problems

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Although Ariens zero-turn mowers are durable, efficient, built to last, and comfortable to use. 

It is possible for your Ariens zero-turn mower to develop a fault at any time and this can be frustrating, especially when you have an overgrown lawn that needs trimming.

In this article, we share well-detailed Ariens zero-turn mower problems and practical fixes to ensure smooth mowing operation.

But before we jump right into the possible solutions…

Some of the most common Ariens zero-turn mower problems are:

  • Ariens zero-turn mower fails to start
  • Ariens zero-turn mower won’t move
  • Vibration problems
  • Ariens zero-turn mower loses power and dies
  • Bad or uneven cut

Ariens Zero-Turn Mower Problems: Causes and Solutions

1. Ariens Mower Fails to Start

If your Ariens mower won’t start, it might be because of air or gas restrictions not allowing the engine to get the required air and gas to run. This can occur as a result of a defective spark plug, a bad solenoid, a failed electrical component, or a dead battery.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Old or Bad GasGas breaks down over time and makes it less efficient, clogging the gas systemUse a fuel siphon and take out the gas from the gas tank. Stabilize the gas by using a fuel additive.
No gas in the tankThe gas tank is emptyFill with fresh gas
Defective spark plug    Bad connection; Broken or dirty spark plug; not gapped correctlySecure connection; Replace the faulty spark plug and make sure that it is gapped correctly
Clogged or faulty fuel The vent may get clogged and create a vacuum in the tank, restricting the flow of fuelClear the blocked vent with a thin piece of wire or replace the cap if necessary.
Faulty charging systemIf the charging system isn’t able to hold the mower charged and drains the battery, it is advisable to repair itSeek the help of an expert to help you identify the problem and fix it.
Broken recoilA damaged or broken recoil may prevent it from starting the engine Inspect recoil to know if you can re-string it.
Broken parts like the pulley should be replaced or you replace the entire recoil assembly if necessary.
Clogged air filterA blocked and dirty fuel filter will restrict the flow of fuel.Replace fuel filter
Dirty carburetorThe carburetor can become dirty due to bad gas and ethanol deposits that prevent the flow of fuel          Clean the components of the carburetor or replace them if needed
Faulty ignition or coilA bad coil or ignition or coil will make the mower not to startTest and replace the defective ignition switch
Bad safety switchIf the switch fails, it may prevent the mower from starting   Test and replace defective safety switch
Faulty battery or dirty and loose terminals

Loose cables, corroded terminals, or a dead battery may make the mower not startEnsure that the cables are tight and clean corroded terminals. Charge the battery or replace the battery

2. Mower Loses Power and Dies

Your Ariens zero-turn mower can lose power when the air or gas systems are compromised, affecting the mower’s operation. 

This problem may be related to clogged fuel lines, a dirty carburetor, a bad air filter, and bad gas.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Bad GasGas degrades over time making the fuel less efficient and liable to engine damage and   clogging the fuel system     
Drain the gas tank and fill it with fresh gas. Use fuel additive to stabilize fuel
Broken or dirty cooling finsThe cooling fins may be filled with oil, grass, and dirt which will not allow the air to properly cool the engine blockClean the cooling fins or replace them with new ones
Blocked air filter   Grass and dirt can block the air filter to prevent airflow   Remove the filter and clean it. Replace it if it is in a bad condition
Clogged fuel linesDirt and gas deposits can accumulate and block the fuel lines, causing the engine not to get the required gas     Clear the clog out the fuel line by using compressed air and carb cleaner
Dirty carburetorThis may be caused by bad gas and ethanol deposits which prevent the flow of fuelClean all the parts that make up the carburetor or replace them if needed

3. Ariens Zero-Turn Mower Smokes

Your zero-turn lawn mower can smoke when the oil gets into the cylinder and starts to burn off.

Some parts begin to burn as a result of increased friction from low oil capacity. This can also result in internal engine failure.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Internal problems including engine gasket, piston ring, or valve trainInternal engine problems may cause serious effects if they are not quickly detected and fixed  Take the mower to a local small engine shop for fixing
Low engine oil levelLack of oil may increase friction in the engine, causing extreme heat in the engineTake the mower to a small engine repair shop to check for engine damage
Blocked air filterGrass and dirt can block the air filter which prevents airflowTake off the air filter and clean it or replace it if it is bad
Excess oil in the crankcaseToo much oil can cause pressure to build in the engine, enabling oil to gain access into the cylinder through the valve train Drain a little engine oil until it meets the manufacturer’s recommended oil level

4. Weak Hydrostatic Transmission

A weak hydrostatic transmission may occur due to a worn or broken drive belt or tensioner pulley.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Faulty tensioner pulleyIf the tensioner pulley fails, it fails to keep the tension on the drive belt  Replace the pulley and grease the tensioner arm
Old or low hydraulic oilOld or low hydraulic oil may not lubricate the hydraulic system, causing the hydraulic system to be weakCheck the hydraulic oil periodically to be sure that the hydraulic fluid is full. Change the hydraulic oil regularly in line with the recommendations of Ariens
Bad drive beltA bad drive belt may prevent the pump from functioning well     Replace worn, cracked, or frayed belt

5. Mower Won’t Steer Correctly Or Drive Straight

Your zero-turn mower may experience these problems as a result of bad dampers, worn steering parts, and incorrect tire pressures. 

The tracking may be off on your Ariens zero-turn, causing it to veer off to the left or right.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Loose or worn steering parts in riding lawn mowerWorn washers, gears, and bushings can prevent the mowing machine from steering in one way or the otherCheck and replace failed parts on the steering system
Bad dampersBad dampers may cause it to jerk to one side when moving in a forward position Replace the bad damper with a new one
Incorrect tire pressureIncorrect tire pressure may make the zero-turn mower pull to one sideInspect tire pressure and keep them filled as specified by the manufacturer. The tires must have equal pressures.

Tracking adjustment needed on an Ariens zero-turn mowerThe mower can pull to one side if one tire is moving faster than the other.To change the rotation speed of the tire, adjust the speed adjustment bolt. Check the owner’s manual

6. Ariens Zero-Turn Mower Won’t Move

This is one of the common problems of an Ariens zero-turn mower. 

This can occur as a result of a missing idler spring, bad drive belt, or worn tensioner pulley.

If the drive release lever and transmission bypass rod aren’t in the right position, it may cause the mower not to move.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Worn drive pump belt    It won’t move forward if the drive belt is worn or falls off Replace cracked or worn belts. Ensure that the belt is secure around the pulleys
The bypass rod or drive release lever is in the wrong positionA wrongly positioned bypass rod or drive release will not allow the mower to move freely   The bypass rod must be disengaged while the drive release lever should be in the operating position
Missing idler arm spring   A broken or missing idler arm spring will no longer place tension on the drive belt     Replace missing or broken spring
Faulty tensioner pulleyThe bearing in the tensioner pulley can failReplace the tensioner pulley
Old or low hydraulic oil Old or low hydraulic can fail to lubricate the systemCheck the hydraulic oil at periodic intervals to be sure that the hydraulic fluid is full.
Change the hydraulic oil regularly in line with Ariens’ recommendations

Air in the hydraulic systemThe  zero-turn mower won’t be able to move at normal speeds if the air isn’t bled from the hydraulic system after changing the hydraulic fluidFollow the recommendations of Ariens to change the hydraulic fluid.
Check the owner’s manual to bleed    air from the system

Hot hydraulic fluidA hot hydraulic fluid can damage the hydrostatic transmission system.Allow the hydraulic oil to cool. It is advisable to  check the mower at the local  dealership if the hydraulic system gets weak when hot

7. Vibration Problems

The Ariens zero-turn mower may vibrate because of unbalanced or damaged blades, or failing components including bearings in the clutch, spindle housings, and pulleys.

Other possible causes include loose components and hardware on the mower, debris lodged under the mower’s pulleys, and other places where small items can get stuck in the mower.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Failing clutchWhen there is bearing failure and it falls out of the clutch, it may cause vibration problemsReplace the clutch
Damaged or unbalanced mower bladesDamaged or unbalanced blades can cause the mower to vibrateReplace damaged blades and ensure that they are balanced
Debris lodged in Ariens Acorns, woodchips, stones, and other debris can get lodged in the mower. This causes it to shakeInspect the mower deck and other places where small items can get stuck in the mower. Remove all foreign materials
Bad deck belts or pulleysInspect the pulleys and belt for bearing failure and wear Replace any worn or damaged pulleys and belts 
Bad bearings in the spindle housing

Foreign material around mower blade shaft

Bad bearings in the spindle housing can cause vibration 

Foreign materials like long weeds, string or wire can get wrapped around the blade shaft or spindle shaft to cause vibration 
You can replace only the bearing but it’s best to replace the entire spindle housing assembly.

Remove foreign materials that are wrapped around the blade shaft. 

8. Uneven or Bad Cut

Your Ariens zero-turn mower may cut unevenly because of defective components such as a damaged or worn blade, unleveled mower deck, uneven tire pressures, clogged mower deck, and slow engine speed.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Mower deck is clogged with dirt Grass buildup beneath the deck can cause bad cut  
You may use silicone spray but it may not solve the problem.
Mow the lawn regularly to prevent grass from clumping. It’s best not to avoid mowing on wet grass.
Incorrect tire pressures   When one tire is lower in  pressure than the other, the deck can sit unevenly and
give you an uneven cut  
Ensure that the tires have the
correct tire pressure
Bent bladeBent blades can affect the cut of the lawn and leave it with an uneven cut
Replace bent blade with a new one
Worn or dull blade If the mower blades are excessively worn, it may leave strips of grass behind
Replace worn mower blades
Blades are installed wronglyPlacing the mower blades upside down can cause them to hit the ground which can
damage the grass and mower
Ensure that the blades are sharpened before installation
Bent blade spindleBad deck bearings can make your mower have a bad cut Check for bad bearing in the spindle housing or a quill assembly.
Bad deck belt or pulleysA cracked belt or bad belt from a pulley might cause a bad cut Replace the belt and pulley
Engine speed is too low or ground speed is too fastMowing too fast on tall or thick grass can make you get a bad cut because some of the grass will be pushed overIf you are mowing on a weedy, you may not be worried by the quality of the cut and can mow a bit faster but move a bit slower mowing your front yard.
You also need to slow down the ground speed of your mower while mowing tall or thick grass.
Deck shell is damaged The deck shell can get  damaged by running the mower into rocks, trees, and other hard surfaces, causing a bad cut
It is advisable to seek the help of an expert to fix it

9. Engine Overheats

The engine of your Ariens zero-turn mower can overheat due to low engine oil level or restricted airflow, affecting the operation of the mower.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
 Low engine oil level The engine may overheat because the oil level is low. 
Fill the crankcase with the right amount and weight of oil. 
Restricted airflow There is a restriction in the  air flow Clean debris and grass clippings from and cooling fins and blower housing.

10. Leaking Gas

This issue may occur if the carburetor bowl gasket is damaged. This will affect the operation and functionality of the Ariens zero-turn mower.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Damaged or missing Carburetor bowl gasket 

 A damaged carburetor bowl gasket can cause gas to leak      
Replace the carburetor bowl gasket

11. Battery Keeps Dying

The Ariens zero-turn mower battery may die due to dead battery cells. 

If it does not hold a charge, it means that the battery is bad.

Other issues may be a result of a defective alternator or defective charger. 

You need to use a multimeter to test the charger and alternator for proper voltage output.  

Furthermore, a defective voltage regulator can also cause the battery to drain.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Bad battery
One or more battery cells may be dead, affecting the operation of the mowerReplace the battery
Faulty chargerA damaged faulty charger will prevent proper voltage outputReplace the charger
Bad alternatorA bad alternator may not provide proper voltage to the zero-turn mowerReplace the alternator
Defective voltage regulatorThe battery won’t receive enough voltage and will cause the battery to drain quicklyReplace defective voltage regulator

12. Unit Does Not Drive

The mower’s unit may not drive properly if the transaxles are defective or bypassed. This issue is common with Ariens IKON X 42 zero-turn mowers.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Faulty or bypassed transaxles The unit will not drive if the transaxles are bypassed or faultyEngage levers to troubleshoot bypassed transaxles
Contact your Ariens dealer to fix faulty transaxles

13. Ariens Zero-Turn Mower is Difficult to Start

The Ariens zero-turn mower may take much time before starting. This may be due to a clogged carburetor. 

When gas is left for a long time, it becomes sticky and clogs your carburetor.

Cause Reason for ProblemSolution
Clogged carburetor      
Old gas may become sticky and can clog the carburetor     Replace the clogged carburetor

Ariens Zero-Turn Mower Not Getting Gas

If your Ariens IKON XD-52 or any other Ariens zero-turn lawn mower does not get gas, the problem may be due to:

  • Bad Fuel
  • Plugged fuel filter
  • Clogged fuel lines
  • Bad fuel pump
  • Dirty Carburetor

Troubleshooting Tips

Use a siphon pump to drain the gas tank and refill it with fresh fuel. Ensure that you add a fuel additive to the fresh gas to clean and stabilize the fuel system.

  • Replace the clogged fuel filter with a new one.
  • Replace the fuel line with a new one.
  • Replace a damaged fuel pump with a new one.
  • To clean the dirty carburetor, spray the carburetor cleaner into the air intake.

Ariens Zero-Turn Mower Blades Won’t Engage

If your Ariens zero-turn mower blades won’t engage, it may be a result of the following reasons:

Faulty PTO Clutch

The PTO clutch is responsible for disconnecting the engines for the blades. A worn-out clutch may prevent the blades from getting engaged. 

Fix: It is advisable to replace the clutch.

Defective PTO Switch

The PTO switch provides power to the Power take-off clutch. A faulty PTO switch will prevent the supply of power to the PTO clutch.

As a result, the clutch will not engage, and the blades won’t rotate. Use a multimeter to test it for continuity to determine if the switch is faulty.

Fix: Replace the faulty switch.

How Do You Clean the Carburetor on an Ariens Zero-Turn Mower?

Here are the steps for cleaning the carburetor of your Ariens zero-turn mower:

Spray Carburetor Cleaner Into The Air Intake

The first step to take is to remove the air filter from the air filter housing. Spray the carburetor cleaner into the air intake. 

Check if the engine will start and continue to operate. If the engine does not start but shuts down, you need to disassemble the carburetor for cleaning.

Take Pictures for Reassembly

It is advisable to take photos while you disassemble it. Some components might come apart and you may find it difficult to remember their position when you have disassembled them.

Taking photos of this process will enable you to reassemble them with ease

Turn off the Fuel Supply

To shut off the fuel supply, you need to use pliers or a fuel hose pinch to crimp the fuel line. You can also turn off the fuel shut-off valve. After that, take off the fuel line from the carburetor.

Take off Choke Cable and Throttle Cable

Remove the choke cable and throttle if your mower has one.

Remove the Filter Housing

Take off the nuts and screws that attach the carburetor to the filter housing.

Take Off the Springs

Slowly remove the springs but you need to be careful not to stretch them out. 

To remove the springs, you have to twist the carburetor a bit. Ensure that you do not tear the gasket that is found between the carburetor and engine block.

Remove the Float Bowl

You can locate the float blow at the base of the carburetor. The float bowl is where the gas is stored in the carburetor. This component is held by a screw.

Before removing the bowl, ensure that you clean around the outer part of the carburetor bowl to eliminate dirt. After that, remove the screw from the bowl’s base.

Make sure that you get a rag to catch the remaining gasoline in the bowl. 

Do not damage the o-ring while trying to remove the bowl. In addition, make sure that you do not get the carburetor cleaner on the o-ring.

Inspect the Stem for Plugged Holes

A clogged stem will prevent the carburetor from bringing fuel to the jet. Locate the holes with a flashlight and disconnect them with a thick wire.

Inspect the Carburetor for White Crusty Build-up

Use a carburetor cleaner to remove white crusty material. It is quite impossible to get all the white deposits out of the carburetor.

Reassemble the Carburetor

After cleaning, you can now reassemble the carburetor. Check the photos that you took earlier to be sure that the parts are in the proper position.

Reattach parts to the carburetor including choke and throttle cable( if it uses one), fuel line, filter housing, and springs.

Fill the Gas Tank with Fresh Gas Mixed With A Fuel Additive

Fill the gas tank with fresh gas and mix it with a fuel additive. Allow the gas to fill the carburetor’s bowl and start the engine.

Note: You may need to replace the carburetor if it is in a bad condition.

Tools Required For Cleaning Ariens Carburetor

Needle nose pliers
Thick wire
Ratchet set or socket
Carburetor cleaner


If you notice that your Ariens zero-turn mower is giving you issues, the first step to take is to figure out the causes. Some of the problems include vibration problems, weak hydrostatic transmission, and starting issues.

Follow the recommended fixes to get your Ariens zero-turn mower working again. If your mower does not work properly after trying these troubleshooting tips, it might be best to seek a technician’s help.

Top Recommended Handy Tools for Troubleshooting & Servicing Your Lawn Mower

Multimeter – This is useful for checking voltage, continuity & current to identify electrical problems in your mowerFilter Wrench – For loosening your mower’s filter.
Carburetor Cleaner – Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner for cleaning clogs & buildup in the fuel system.Blade Balancer–Balances Blades After Sharpening.
Fuel Stabilizer – This stabilizes & cleans your fuel to reduce fuel system buildupBattery Inflator – This helps to ensure your mower tires stay inflated to prevent steering or uneven cutting issues.
Socket & Allen Wrench Set – These tools are needed to service & troubleshoot your mower problemsTachometer– Evaluates your mower’s engine performance and provides accurate data about the status of the engine
12-Volt Battery Charger – This is useful for charging your mower battery.Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener– Adjustable Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener for Right and Left Hand Blades.